Fire Insurance or Life Insurance

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As we approach another religious observation of Easter, aka Resurrection Sunday, what is the take away from reflection on the Cross? I have spoken with many Christians on the topic; it seems the prevailing take-a-way is “Fire Insurance”. The carnal man, as we all are initially, is mostly concerned about avoiding hell fire. He wants that fire insurance. Knowing this, many churches have parked on the gospel of forgiveness to fill the pews. Most see the Cross of Christ as a means of avoiding damnation and relieving the burden of guilt. These are great blessings, but they are not the benefits most emphasized in scripture. A gospel centered primarily on the Cross as a means of forgiveness will always promote sin consciousness. This is so prevalent that most Christians see themselves as mere sinners. What is the result of this perspective? …more sin. Proverbs states, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” If you see yourself as a sinner, then you expect that you will sin. This mindset binds you to the habits of death that the Savior came to free you from. This fire insurance is a carnal interpretation of salvation from those who have failed to understand the true virtue of the Cross.

As far as fire goes Christ doesn’t save us from fire, He assures us of fire. He tells us that our life’s work will be tested by fire, we will be purified by fire, and the Holy Spirit is the Baptism by fire. In fact, He desires that we would be ablaze for Him and His Kingdom. Fire is common for believers.

When I was a teenager, I had a discussion with a man on the bus who tried to persuade me that Christianity was a religion taught to me by my oppressor. He also told me that the cross symbolized death. He went onto to say that he couldn’t understand why people would wear a symbol that represented death. While the Cross does remind us of the death of Yeshua, it also reminds us more importantly of the power of His resurrection. Yes, Christ died for all, but He was also resurrected and obtained new life for all. The teaching of the Cross in Holy Scripture emphasizes this new Life. Yeshua said, “I come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly.” The Cross of the Gospel of Christ is where the eternal life of Yeshua is made available to those willing to lay down their own interpretation of living. Existence outside of the life that Christ gives is filled with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, the pride of life, and fear. The life given to us through the Cross of Christ is the life of an obedient son of GOD. The obedience in this new life is rooted in Love and is lived out in Spirit and Truth. It is a life that is pleasing to GOD; a life that is centered in GOD.

When the teaching of the Cross is limited only to forgiveness, it leaves men attached to their carnal lives. It offers them compassion without a cure for their suffering. So much more has been provisioned through the Cross. It was nearly impossible to know GOD before the Life of Christ was made available through the Cross. The only life obtainable was the life inherited through Adam, which rebels against GOD and questions His Love in unbelief. This carnal life from Adam is alienated from GOD in that it has made a god of its own carnal reasoning.

We have to leverage the love manifested to us in the Cross of Christ unto a new hope and belief, and to faith in the promises of GOD’s love, which goes beyond forgiveness but also brings the promise of a new and powerful Life.

The powers of darkness don’t want you to know the fullness of the Love manifested through the Cross. It is a divine Love that breaks the shackles of sin and enables you to manifest the Light of GOD. All sin is rooted in selfishness and fear. The scripture teaches us that GOD’s perfect Love cast out fear. Fear is diminished in us as we grow in our understanding of the Love of GOD. The secure embrace of GOD’s love frees us from self-concern and empowers us to love others with divine love. Divine love being that beautiful and sacrificial love, that gives at the cost of self to benefit others.

The true sign that we understand and appreciate the Cross of Christ is that we have also taken up our own cross, by daily sacrificing carnal living, that the spiritual Life of Yeshua might be manifest in us. Just as the Spirit raised Yeshua from the dead, the Holy Spirit is present in the earth to empower new life in us. The Holy Spirit opens the life-giving teachings of Yeshua to us, and affirms the love of the Father in our hearts. He who the Son makes free is free indeed. He frees us through the workings of the Cross.

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Where is the Church that Christ built?

Easter after Easter, Resurrection Sunday after Resurrection Sunday, Christians reflect on the death and resurrection of Christ yet they still don’t understand it. I say this because the resurrection life that Yeshua made available to us is not being lived NOW. Yeshua told the religious leaders if they tore down the temple or church, that he would rebuild it in three days. Where is the Church rebuilt by Christ? Where is the Church filled with the righteousness of Christ, the Love of Christ, the obedience of Christ, the faithfulness of Christ, the power of Christ, the glory of the Son? I am not talking about a building somewhere with a congregation. The church that Christ rebuilt is made of living stones instead of lifeless stones. Where are the individuals who fulfill the righteousness of the Law through living by the Spirit: glorifying Yahweh as the resurrected body of Christ?

Most people today that say they believe on the Son of God, (Jesus-Messiah-Yeshua) aren’t willing to suffer for righteousness sake.  The death of the cross has been limited to somethimg experienced only by Yeshua. Consequently, the resurrection life that comes after the cross has also been limited to a life lived only by Yeshua. Churches today don’t hold their members accountable to living like Yeshua. The understanding is that we all try to be like Yeshua while knowing it is impossible; it’s just the religious thing to do. How does this mindset compare to what Yeshua said when He declared that those that believed on Him would be able to do even greater works than what He performed. In fact, most confessing Christians have the misconception that we won’t be able to live like Yeshua until we get to Heaven. Church members are taught they will only be free from sin once they get to heaven; after shedding the flesh. Yeshua didn’t say, tear down this church and I will rebuild it again in the Kingdom of Heaven; He said He would rebuild it in three days!

On the third day after Yeshua was crucified, He was raised again. After His resurrection, He ascended to Heaven to make available the same resurrection power to any man that would be willing to be an extension of His body in the earth. To be an extension of His body, you have to submit your body to the rulership of His mind. This is what is meant by making Yeshua Lord and Savior. Yeshua is the head of the body or the mind of the church. The believer surrenders his body to serve the will of Christ. Resurrection life is the life of Christ flowing through a believer that has surrendered his body to be governed by the mind of Christ. Since no man knows the mind of Yahweh but the spirit of Yahweh, the Holy Spirit has been sent to indwell and fill all those that make room by getting off of the throne through taking up the cross.

Romans 6:5-7

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

The death of Christ was on this wise; no man took His life but He laid it down. To be buried in the likeness of His death is to lay your life down through taking up your own cross. It follows that as the Spirit quickened Christ and raised Him again, if we deny carnal living through mortifying the deeds of the flesh then the Spirit will quicken us with new life to live spiritually. So then, after we bury our old habits through the baptism of repentance, we then look for the baptism of fire; the power of the Holy Spirit unto newness of life. Just as Christ was grieved in Gethsemane, we will be grieved in denying the cravings of the flesh but they that wait upon the Lord will renew in strength and mount up with wings as eagles. This is to say, if we will put our bodies on the alter, sprinkled with the blood of the lamb, fire will come down from Heaven and consume the offering; we will be filled with the Spirit. He that has an ear let him hear the good news of the Gospel. Resurrection life for NOW!

Don’t let another observance of the resurrection of Christ pass by without embracing your own cross and realizing that resurrection life is available now. Resurrection life is real. I am intentionally not referencing a bunch of scriptures to support what I have written here because every man is going to have to subdue His flesh with all the carnal reasoning as Yeshua did in Gethsemane until they come to the same conclusion that He came too: “Not my will but yours be done.” I am a new creature in Christ. I am living a life that only Yahweh could show me. I am learning things from the Holy Spirit that no man has taught me. Taking up the cross is a very personal and intimate experience between an individual and the God head. The decision to take up the cross is made in an obscure place alone but the resurrection life that follows shines for all to see; bringing glory to Yeshua.

Let go and let God Almighty.

Reflecting On His Cross

This Sunday, as people have done for over a thousand years, many people will reflect on the death and resurrection of the Messiah. What is the message that this reflection will yield? It is astonishing to me the degree of darkness that still pervades around the cross of Jesus as evidenced by the denial of what Calvary truly stands for. Jesus Christ, Yehowshua, The Messiah, The Savior, went about before His crucifixion preaching and teaching on the principle that if we are all to have life then we must each individually give our lives.

John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this but that a man lay down His own life for a friend.”

Luke 9:23-24, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever will save his life will lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake will save it.”

John 13:34, “A new commandment I give you, that you should love one another; as I have loved you, that you also should love one another.”

As a truly leader, Jesus served by example and laid His life down for us all at Calvary. Jesus laid down His life as a man not according to His will alone but at the will of the Father. Remember He prayed in His humanity:

Mark 14:36, “Father, everything is possible for you. Take away this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what you will.”

 Ultimately it was the understanding that Christ had of the Father’s love that enabled Him to surrender to the death of the cross.

Today many people live unto themselves dominated by selfish pride. This pride, that rules over so many, came to power through a coronation by fear.  Fear, with a mind-set of if I don’t live for self then I may not get what I need or what I want. The selfish and non-trusting orientation of fear keeps the masses divided. Everyone in their own castles unwilling to lower the drawbridge that gives access to their heart. Access is denied not only to fellowmen but at an even greater detriment this access is also denied to God. The pride that has come to power in the hearts of many will not acknowledge any other authority, not even the authority of the Creator. The tyranny of pride empowered by fear will not submit to the authority of God so the commands of God are dismissed. The commands of God have been replaced with a liberalism that allows for all men to stay in their locked castles to live as they individually see fit without concern for those beyond their own walls. The masses have been deceived into believing that this selfish isolation is real freedom.

As you can see, this life style is the extreme opposite of what the Savior taught and exemplified. It is by design. There is an evil present in this world that hates God. God is love, truth, and life. This evil promotes hate, deceit, and death through the propagation of fear. Fear triggers the flight response that sends everyone to their isolated castles guarded by pride. When we are divided, we are weak and our civilization falls. Divided we fall. God has given us His commands to unite us. When we all as one people submit to the commands of God we become united and strong and then life thrives. We cannot be united by everyone doing their own thing and living unto themselves. God does not merely want us to exist as in “COEXIST”. God wants us to thrive in abundant life as a family. That’s why Jesus taught that we should pray “OUR Father”.

The only way to break the power of pride is to eradicate fear and the only way to eradicate fear is through the power of LOVE. As love destroys fear, faith grows in the place of fear. Faith with its accompaniments of hope and trust will dethrone pride and enthrone Love. When love takes the throne the gates of the castles are open and life thrives through true intimate exchange.

It is imperative that as we reflect on the cross of Jesus and that we embrace the dynamic message of His love toward us. Once we truly understand and accept His love, it will make us free from fear through the faith, hope, and trust which works by love. The tyranny of pride can then be overthrown and we will find the power to lay down our lives as the Savior did to the will of the Father. As we cease to live everyman for himself and every man to himself then the prayer that Jesus requested of the Father comes to fruition.

John 17:11, “Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me,that they may be one as We are.

A bond formed from many being baptized into the singular life of Jesus Christ through the death of individual living.

Mark 8:34, “When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

The temporal unity formed through faddish political interest, carnal appetites, socioeconomic status, culture and even race are all vulnerable to the divisive attacks of the powers of darkness. Only the unity forged by the power of God’s spirit will stand. As we reflect on His cross may we learn what it means to take up our own. If we share in the likeness of His death we will also partake of the glorious quickening of resurrection power unto new life.

Romans 6:5, “ For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,”